Growing up, I wanted to be an artist, a cartoonist specifically. Almost every trip to the supermarket, I’d ask my mom to buy me a new notebook — I still look at Mead 5-subject notebooks fondly. She’d say something to the effect of, “I just got you one.” And I’d explain that I already filled it. All two hundred pages.
Somewhere along the way, I gave up on my drawing dreams. I thought I should get on a more practical path (of majoring in English – ha!). But my big “What If” has always been wondering if I ever could’ve done something with my illustrations.
And while I’ve written about how it’s never too late to accomplish your dreams — and I do believe that — as a woman of a certain age, at some point, I put my drawing daydreams into the “Not Going to Happen” portion of my brain.
Then I found out that an artist whose illustrations and paintings I admired, Lisa Congdon, didn’t start drawing and painting until she had turned thirty-one. While I’m (sniff!) older than thirty-one, this really stuck with me.
When I first discovered her work, I assumed she’d been plodding along in her career since art school in her 20s, if not before. It never occurred to me that someone who started doing something so relatively late in life could be having the success she’s had in recent years.
I immediately bought her first book of hand-lettered quotes, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One and pre-ordered the sequel of hand-lettered quotes Fortune Favors the Brave, which arrived today. When I read what she wrote about her life and living authentically its introduction, I decided I needed to write this post and that she needs to be my spirit guide:
“It takes enormous bravery and determination to be totally yourself, to pursue life dreams that others might not understand, to risk judgment, or to break out of unhealthy relationships, addictions, and habits. It also takes courage to forgive yourself when you falter along the way and to move on after you do or say things you later regret. Let’s face it—none of us has a “perfect” path. In fact, accepting, even embracing, our missteps and imperfections (including the big ones) is part of the journey. And understanding that we all falter, that we are all beautifully imperfect, and that we are all in some way trying to live authentically connects us as humans.”
It’s never too late to follow your dreams, to find new ones, or to live a life you’re proud of living.
I may never start the Etsy greeting card line I fantasize about, but I’m not going to count it out. And you shouldn’t count out your “What Ifs” either. Dust off your sketch book, put some batteries in your camera, read a book for pleasure, sign up for guitar lessons, and above all else — as Lisa Congdon also says in her intro — live bravely and fully.